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A Long Finish (1998)

by Michael Dibdin

Series: Aurelio Zen (6)

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576829,852 (3.75)10
In Aurelio Zen, officer of the Italian Criminalpol, Michael Dibdin has created one of the most intriguing and addictive detectives in contemporary crime fiction. Now he returns in "A Long Finish, " driven by a steely instinct for self-preservation coupled with a love of good food and wine. Zen is back in Rome, meeting with a world-famous film director at the instruction of his superiors. In the privacy of a remarkably well-stocked wine cellar, the director convinces Zen to arrange for the release of the scion of an important wine-growing family, who has been jailed for the murder of his own father. It's a puzzle of envy, love, greed, and pride, accompanied by heaping plates of pasta covered with generous shavings of white truffle, and bottomless glasses of the best local wine. It is the perfect challenge for Zen -- and a perfect read for his fans.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
I didn't care for this 6th entry in the Aurelio Zen series very much. Zen himself seemed to be floundering and he never figured out the true story even when he was close to it... Dibdin also basically tells the reader who the culprit was fairly early. ( )
  leslie.98 | Nov 12, 2019 |
I would love to visit Italy using Micheal Dibdin's novels as the itinerary. So utterly fun to read despite the seam of violence. And the sentences! Worth it all by themselves without the clever twists. Read this, for example " Above the wavering outline of the darkening hills, the sky was a molten glory, ranging from a creamy peach to a delicate glowing pink, lik sunlight filtered through a baby's ear."
( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
I have read the five previous Zen mysteries and this was not the best entry in the series. As usual it was full of wine and food. Of course, wine and food, specifically, truffles, were the subject of this mystery. Or at least the motivation for the murders. The plot for this novel was murky, but the reading was fun. The descriptions of a typical Italian wine town were enjoyable to read about. The novel is placed in the town of Alba. This is the heart of truffle country and truffles are a big business in that city. So big, that it is possible to make lots of money finding them, selling them, and stealing them. The rise in the international wine business and the corresponding increase in prices for the local Italian wines made for a sharp increase in the value of the land, and those two things are the base of the plot.

What I didn't like was, the buffoonery displayed by the characters. It seems that all Italian policemen are dunces and treat others like they are as well. I don't think that is the way it is in real life, and so am getting tired of this kind of stock character as it appears in so many mysteries set in Italy. It makes me long to read another book by Gianrico Carofiglio just to have some realism in an Italian mystery.

I only have three more Zen novels to read to finish up this series, and even though this title was not the best, I still enjoyed reading it. Zen is such a complex character and his life is such a mess due to his inept abilities to make a decision about what he wants in life. Oh well, there is always the next book in which he can make a change. For the better, one hopes. ( )
  benitastrnad | Mar 20, 2018 |
Good book. Classic detective novel set in rural Italy. I picked it up to read before our trip to Italy because it is set in the same area we were visiting. ( )
  JRexV | Sep 25, 2011 |
This is the first Aurelio Zen book I have read. I bought it after watching, and greatly enjoying, the new BBC mini series with Rufus Sewell in the name part. Sewell did it so well that I found this book rather a disappointment. This Zen, admittedly older than in the televised stories, is rather more like Maigret (without the wife). Definitely middle aged and a bit stuffy despite showing a willingness to break rules and cut corners when he thinks he's right. We are treated to some personal angst arising from difficult relationships in the past and leading to somnambulism. Brief (very) psychotherapy from the local doctor - also a prince, pot smoker, harpsichord virtuoso and lover of much younger women - only leads him to a improbable decision about personal family ties.
The atmosphere sounds authentic and the author had expert help in getting the details of Piedmontese viticulture right. The scent of the white truffle oozes from the pages. The killings are brutal and rural and the resolution is obscure untill the end although there is a very obvious clue to the identity of the guiilty party about a third of the way through the book.
I think I will meet up with Zen again, even if only for the descriptions of Italy. ( )
  abbottthomas | Feb 6, 2011 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Later -- when word of what had happened got about and, in variously garbled versions, was for a time the common property of the entire nation -- a television crew set up a satellite dish in a clearing on the hillside at the back of the Faigano property, paying what in local terms amounted to a small fortune for the temporary rights to a a few square meters of land so poor, so barren, so utterly useless, that it had virtually ceased to exist on anyone's mental map of the vicinity.
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In Aurelio Zen, officer of the Italian Criminalpol, Michael Dibdin has created one of the most intriguing and addictive detectives in contemporary crime fiction. Now he returns in "A Long Finish, " driven by a steely instinct for self-preservation coupled with a love of good food and wine. Zen is back in Rome, meeting with a world-famous film director at the instruction of his superiors. In the privacy of a remarkably well-stocked wine cellar, the director convinces Zen to arrange for the release of the scion of an important wine-growing family, who has been jailed for the murder of his own father. It's a puzzle of envy, love, greed, and pride, accompanied by heaping plates of pasta covered with generous shavings of white truffle, and bottomless glasses of the best local wine. It is the perfect challenge for Zen -- and a perfect read for his fans.

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